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From sour +‎ stuff. Calque of German Sauerstoff (oxygen) and/or Dutch zuurstof (oxygen), both loose loan translations of French oxygène. See oxygen for more.


sourstuff (uncountable)

  1. (chemistry, nonstandard, science fiction, rare) Oxygen.
    • 1887, The Electrical journal - Volume 18 - Page 482:
      This is approximately the heat of exploding what the Germans call bang-gas (mixture of sourstuff and waterstuff), the result being liquid.
    • 1976, Poul Anderson, Homebrew:
      For an outshow, the gang of water has two waterstuff unclefts bound to one sourstuff uncleft; the gang of rust has two iron and three sourstuff unclefts; [...]
    • 1997, Poul Anderson, All One Universe, →ISBN:
      Thus, everyday sourstuff has eight neitherbits with its eight firstbits, but there are also kinds with five, six, seven, nine, ten, and eleven neitherbits. A samestead is known by the tale of both kernel motes, so that we have sourstuff-13, sourstuff-14, and so on, with sourstuff-16 being by far the mostfound.
    • 2013, Harry Turtledove & ‎L. Sprague deCamp, Down in the Bottomlands: And Other Places, →ISBN:
      “Best you and your thane don your sourstuff masks now, Judge Scoglund,” Ankowaljuu said, returning to English so Park and Dunedin could not misunderstand him.